Takumi Minamino hasn’t yet made much of an impact for Liverpool since signing for the club from Red Bull Salzburg in January, but that’s hardly a surprise given Jürgen Klopp’s tendency to give new signings time to adjust and settle.
It may take time, but if the player can be patient and work hard in training, his chances will come. And when they do, they will perhaps owe a little to a former rival with Manchester United who also played under Klopp at Dortmund.
“I spoke to Shinji Kagawa as he had played for Jurgen Klopp at Dortmund, too,” Minamino revealed. “Klopp talked to me about Shinji and Shinji talked about Klopp and from that I could sense that they had a really good relationship.
“Shinji said that Klopp was one of the best coaches in the world and now that I am here and working for him I have also realised he is one of the best coaches around. He is very good at motivating players, so I want to respond to his motivation.”
Kagawa’s best seasons in Europe came at Dortmund, and Klopp was the manager who brought him to Europe from J1 League side Cerezo Osaka. His first year at Dortmund, though, was one of adjustment—and limited playing time.
It wasn’t until year two that Kagawa took on a starring role, starting in 43 games in all competitions with 17 goals and 14 assists. Now, for Minamino as it was for Kagawa, the chances will come. It’s just a matter of hard work and waiting.
“Two or three days after joining the club, he said I could play any way I wanted to play and just enjoy playing,” the 25-year-old Liverpool attacker added. “As a player, I was really happy he said that.”